Bears vs. Chargers Prediction: Can the Bears defense keep it close out west?
Jay Biggerstaff - USA Today Sports

Bears vs. Chargers Prediction: Can the Bears defense keep it close out west?

by - Senior Writer -

As we approach another week of Bears football, it is hard to fathom that in just one week, it will be the halfway point of the season. Before teams even think about that, week eight must be played, and for the Bears, it means a road trip to the West Coast to take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night.

To crank things up a bit, both of these teams are staring at two wins on the season, so the loser of this game will enhancetheir draft status. While a better draft pick would help the Bears, they don't care about that, as this team wants to win more than ever at this point in the season. For that to happen this week, they are going to need to be focused, as the Chargers are heavy favorites over the Bears.

A big reason for that could be the play at QB, where Justin Herbert has been among the game's best since coming into the league four seasons ago. Granted, the wins haven't translated to the overall numbers that he has put up. Still, you have to put some blame on his head coach, Brandon Staley, who continues to make terrible decisions in crunch time, costing his team countless games and even a potential division title last season. Perhaps he can do that again this weekend to help the Bears pick up a win.

Here are three things to look for this weekend:

The next steps for Tyson Bagent

As special as it was to see Bagent win his first career start, he left a lot on the table as the game plan was simplified to suit his strengths. Granted, that did work in the Bears favor last week; they will need more from him this week to win this game.

Perhaps another week of taking snaps with the first team will give him the reps and confidence he needs to take his game to the next level. Regardless, the offense looked and played better overall with Bagent under center, and now it is up to him to keep that confidence going. As long as he plays to his strengths and doesn't try to do too much, the Bears will have an excellent opportunity to pick up another win against a team that is better than what their record shows.

Brandon Staley

As mentioned above, the Chargers are a talented team, but the wins haven't backed that up for whatever reason. When that happens, some immediately want to blame the QB, but in this case, look no further than the head coach Brandon Staley. Now, in his third season, Staley is the definition of someone who defies the odds, and at this point, it is becoming comical as to how bad it has gotten.

Over the past few years, the NFL has gone to more of an analytical approach. That means passing on field goals to go for it on fourth down, or even worse, passing on Punts to go for the first down. In some cases, that is OK, but someone needs to tell Staley that kicking the ball is okay. Either he doesn't believe in kicking the ball, or he doesn't trust his kickers to do the job.

Whatever the reason, Staley remains the most aggressive coach in the NFL and has now become the laughingstock of the league based on the decisions he has made. If this team misses the playoffs again this season, he will most likely be shown the door, as the team has far too much talent to be losing the way they do.

Contain Herbert

After a terrible start to the season defensively, things have settled down for Matt Eberflus's group, as the defense has played well the past three weeks. That includes seven turnovers forced over the past three games, leading to a 2-1 record. Anytime you force that many turnovers in three weeks, you give your team a great chance to win.

For the Bears to continue their winning ways this week, they are not only going to have to force turnovers again, but they will need to find a way to contain Herbert. Not only is he one of the best QBs in the league, but Herbert has also been very consistent since the day he was drafted, making him a matchup nightmare.

Given his size, accuracy, and arm strength, a defense is never going to fully stop Herbert, as he has too much skill to be shut down. Instead, your best chances to beat him are to contain him, which the Bears are looking to do. Chicago does need to play this with a sense of caution, however, as the Vikings blitzed Herbert a ton in week three only to have him complete 23-25 passes against the blitz for 345 yards and two TDs.

Prediction: Bears lose 31-20

This will be a tough matchup for the Bears, and the early spread indicates that Vegas feels the same way. Not only are they going out West to face a good Chargers team on Sunday night, but they have to do it with their backup QB under center.

That alone could be the difference in the game, as the Bears will be facing an uphill battle throughout. Although I do expect another positive showing with signs of improvement, it still won't be enough as the Chargers pick up a huge win to keep their season going in the right direction by knocking off the Bears 31-20.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Dustin Riese: Email | Comment
Post your comments!